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Preventive Health Activities

Preventive Health Activities

 

According to the Law on the Red Cross, the national society of the Red Cross of Serbia has in accordance with the objectives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement been given the role of working with health institutions on promoting health, improving health of individualpopulation groups and preventing diseases of higher socio-economic importance. The main goal of the Red Cross of Serbia within the area of public health is to raise awareness in the population on the importance of exercising healthy life styles and prevention of chronic non communicative diseases as well as addiction with a special focus on vulnerable groups (younger, older and socially vulnerable).

 

Objectives of the Red Cross of Serbia in this area of work are:

  1. Changing behaviour of the broadest public and adoption of higher standards of hygiene, reproductive health and healthy living practices
  2. Contributing to reduced tuberculosis incidence through education and active seeking of persons with tuberculosis in Serbia and providing support in treatment
  3. Reducing the suffering of palliative patients and providing support for families of palliative patients
  4. Raising awareness of the public, especially younger people on the dangers of abusing psychoactive substances

Healthy life styles

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (Definition by World Health Organisation).

This means that we need to think about our style of living, whether we just spends the health reserves we have and whether we do enough to preserve and improve our health.

In its activities the Red Cross of Serbia pays special attention to educating the public on exercising healthy life styles with focus on the importance of healthy eating, regular exercising, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as the regular preventive health check-ups. These activities can contribute to reducing incidence of chronic non communicative diseases that are currently the leading cause of death in Serbia. Prevention and reducing risky behaviour and diseases is being conducted through continuing preventive-educative activities and campaigns involving the work of professional staff and volunteers at all levels of the Red Cross organisation. The work is based on participative approach through providing information, health education and development of life skills and takes place in schools, at home, at work and in the community.

World Health Organisation estimates that by 2020 70% of all the diseases will be related to the style of living and the most important factors are as listed here:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Unbalanced and incorrect eating (excessive weight, obesity)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  1. Physical activity

“Physical activity can replace a lot of medication but no medication can replace physical activity” Samuel-AugusteTissot (1728-1797)

Physical activity is an important and inseparable part of a healthy life style and at the same time one of the easiest ways to improve one’s health. It contributes to burning calories and spending energy ingested through eating so it favourably influences body weight and reduces the sugar and cholesterol levels in blood. Regular activity leads to lowered blood pressure and reduces the risks related to heart disease by 50%. Physical activity should, of course, be in alignment with one’s physical capacities and general health condition. It should be pleasurable and not cause stress.

20 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week helps keep one’s heart healthy and reduces blood pressure level.

Think of all the ways you could be more active in your daily life. Any activity that makes you feel a little warmer and gently out of breath is perfect.

Recommended heart rates during physical activity:

Age                        Heartbeats per minute

20-29                     115-145

30-39                     110-140

40-49                     105-130

50-59                     100-125

60-69                     95-110

  1. Healthy eating

Balanced and varied diet is very important in preserving and improving one’s health.

Eating fruit and vegetables: it is recommended to eat them 2-3 times per day, preferably raw

Milk and dairy products: 2-3 times per day, one cup or portion. Preferably, one should chose products with low percentage of fat.

Meat, eggs and meat products: Meat and meat products should be eaten once per day in 150 gram portions. Preferably, it should be lean meat (chicken, fish). 2-3 whole eggs per week should be ideal.

Fish and seafood: It is recommended to eat two fish-based dishes per week

Fat and oil: It is recommended to use cold-pressed oils (olive, corn, sunflower, sesame) in salad dressings and not for thermal treatment of food (frying, deep frying). Ingestion of saturated fats and cholesterol (margarine, mayonnaise, meat fat and skin, fried and deep fired food…) should be reduced significantly. Good sources of fats include nuts (walnuts, acorns, hazelnuts, chestnuts) and seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds).

In addition to good selection of food and correct preparation, it is also important to pay attention to how they are combined.

Cereals (wheat, barley, oat) should be eaten with yogurt. Meat, fish and eggs should be combined with green vegetables, paprika, tomatoes or lemon juice.

Sugar: Sweets should generally be avoided

Salt: Ingestion of salt should be reduced. Salt influences the increase of blood pressure levels so it is essential to eat as little of it as possible. Do not add salt to the food during preparation and do not salt it at the table.

  1. Stop smoking

Smokers are at twice the risk of heart attack and stroke as non-smokers. Many smokers never really think about why they smoke. After years of smoking this becomes and automatic act.

Positive effects of abandoning smoking:

  • Mere eight hours after the last cigarette the body starts receiving more oxygen and blood pressure starts dropping
  • After one day, it is easier to climb a set of stairs
  • After two days the senses of taste and smell start coming back
  • After one week the blood flow in hands and feet becomes notably better
  • After one year the risk of heart attack drops by 50%.
  1. Stop drinking
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Maintain hygiene of your hands, body, mouth and teeth
  4. Go for regular health check-ups and regularly take prescribed therapies

As the largest humanitarian organisation in Serbia the Red Cross does this work using its human resources, among them young volunteers. Their role is to transfer knowledge on all aspects of healthy life styles, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, healthy eating, dirty hands diseases, smoking, addiction etc. to their peers. In these activities they act as educators or promoters of specific skills, using interactive methods, peer discussion groups as well as education of parents and teachers. This improves positive attitudes and opens the possibilities for family discussion and discussion in local community.

Preventive health activities are being implemented on the whole territory of Serbia. All municipal branches of the Red Cross of Serbia conduct activities aimed at raising awareness – starting with individuals and their families and finally reaching the whole community with the message of importance of healthy life styles.

Calendar of health:

  • 31 January National day against tobacco smoke
  • 24 March World Tuberculosis Day
  • 7 April World Health Day
  • 31 May World No Tobacco Day
  • 26 June International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
  • 26 September World Heart Day
  • November Month Against Drug Abuse
  • 1 December World AIDS day